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SustainaBOWL 2015: Seahawks vs. Patriots, Who’s Greener?

January 29, 2015

The Super Bowl is days away. Everyone is talking about the how the Seahawks match up with the Patriots on the field. We’ll leave that discussion to the football experts. We thought it would be fun and informative to compare how the two teams’ stadiums compare. Instead of passing game vs. running game, how do the teams match up in terms of energy use, stadium construction, water conservation, waste diversion, and transportation. Introducing SustainaBowl 2015!

century link photo_med

CenturyLink Field, home to the Seahawks and Sounders



Gillette Stadium, home to the Patriots and the Revolution


To start, we should note that it’s difficult to find quantitative metrics on the resources that either CenturyLink Field or Gillette Stadium use on a yearly basis. Most published statistics concern the resources conserved from year to year. These numbers suggest that both teams are making notable efforts to green their operations, but they don’t provide a transparent picture of either team’s sustainability profile, or the resources that they actually use.

Energy Use

Winner: It’s close. We’ll be nice, and give a slight edge to the Patriots’ energy game. A good start by a clinical team.


Stadium Construction

  • Gillette_stadium constructionAs many Seattleites know, CenturyLink Stadium was once the Kingdome, literally; 97 percent of the concrete from the Kingdome was recycled and 35 percent was used in the construction of CenturyLink. The construction of CenturyLink won an Earth Hero award for extensive recycling and re-use of materials.
  • The CenturyLink Event Center uses a “cool roof,” which reduces heat absorption and cooling costs.
  • Gillette Stadium and Patriot Place were also constructed with white, or cool, roofs.
  • During construction of Gillette Stadium, a 2,000 foot stretch of the Neponset River, buried in the 1940s, was “daylighted.”
  • One hundred percent of the old Foxboro Stadium structure went into the foundation of the Gillette Stadium parking lots.

Winner: What? A rare (American) football tie.


Water Conservation

  • By retrofitting bathrooms with ultra-low-flow water fixtures, the Seahawks boast of conserving 1.3 million gallons of water annually, or enough water to fill two Olympic swimming pools.
  • One hundred percent of Gillette Stadium’s bathrooms are run with recycled “grey water” supplied by the stadium’s own state-of-the-art on-site wastewater treatment and reuse system. The system recycles over 10 million gallons of potable water annually for the stadium and Patriot Place.

Winner: Again, really close. But the Patriots take this one too. The Seahawks’ backs are against the walls. From here on out, they need a miraculous performance.


Waste Diversion

  • In Seattle, businesses are required to sort all recyclables and compost out of the trash or face hefty fines. Ninety four percent of the waste generated by CenturyLink Stadium has been diverted from landfills with 100 percent of food containers composted.
  • CenturyLink helps produce five million gallons of bio diesel by recycling its cooking oils.
  • Century Link has 614 recycle and compost bins as well as on-site composting equipment and a cardboard baler.
  • CenturyLink implemented a Sustainable Food Program beginning in 2010, partnering with four local suppliers and local organic foods. CenturyLink’s First and Goal Inc. (FGI) donated 5,083 pounds of food to Food Lifeline and 5,083 pounds to Operation Sack Lunch in 2011.
  • Massachusetts is working on implementing composting programs for businesses. Since December 2014, Gillette Stadium initiatives have freed up over 190 cubic yards of landfill space, enough to fill 95 dump trucks.
  • Patriot Place uses Solar Belly trash compactors.

Winner: Seahawks. Touchdown Seahawks! Wait, hold on …. There’s still hope.



  • About 35 percent of Seahawks fans use public transportation to CenturyLink, and management has publicly stated that it is actively trying to improve these numbers.
  • As a knock against the Patriots, we couldn’t find an equivalent percentage for Gillette Stadium. Gillette Stadium does offer a train for Patriot home games locally known as the Patriot Train, which transports fans directly to the stadium. A soccer train is sometimes scheduled for big soccer events. If the train isn’t available, there are a couple of commuter rail options, but fans may need to do a bit of walking to reach the nearest station.

Winner: The Seahawks take this one. After a rough first three quarters, the Seahawks have come storming back, and are somehow in a position to go for the win…



The SustainaBowl CHAMPION is …….. by a few ultra low-flow toilets, the Seattle Seahawks!


What About University of Phoenix Stadium?

University of Phoenix Stadium, host of this year’s Super Bowl, may not have the same sustainability chops as either CenturyLink or Gillette. But the 2015 Super Bowl will be played under LED lights, which replaced the stadium’s metal halide light fixtures earlier in the year. The new lights will use 310,000 watts of energy as compared to the 1.24 million watts needed to power the previous system.

The stadium also boasts a recycling initiative that involves facility employees handing out garbage and recycling bags to tailgaters. The stadium recycles 120 tons of trash annually and leases out a cardboard compactor for big events allowing them to compact recyclables on site. Ten percent of the seating in the stadium is made of recycled materials.

*The Seattle Seahawks are members of the Green Sports Alliance, which helps members reach their goals for sustainability, including: reduction of waste, conservation of resources, and elimination of toxic chemicals. University of Phoenix Stadium is a member of the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).


– Cyrus Philbrick, Communications Manager

& Madilyn Bechtel, Winter Intern

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